It is terrifying to wait for the result of my thesis but there’s nothing I can do for this time without just waiting for it. These days, I’m thinking what I can write for this blog and what I can do for the next research. Also, I should keep updating about ajummas and their own ways of mobile communicating by using smartphones or other digital devices. So far, I couldn’t find any ‘big’ differences from my findings that I’ve done 2 years ago for the thesis yet. The pattern’s of mobile communication in their online communities (mostly Kakao Talk’s group chat room) is still quite similar compared to 2 years ago. But I keep researching about them and their usage of smartphones.
“Don’t call us as ajumma!”, “You just try to glorify ajummas!”, “Ajummas are different people from us, they’re low-educated and from the countryside!”
I can’t write every single reaction from people when I presented my research about Ajumma in one conference last time. Yes, I was pretty shock to get those reactions. They were Korean middle-aged women. They’re all working moms and I don’t want to specify their personal backgrounds any more.
When I wrote about Yeohyeom (misogyny in some way) before, I thought there is ‘miso-ajumma‘ in Korea as well. Misogyny is combined by two words, miso+gyny so I just combined miso and ajumma which means dislike of ajummas. I know the people (not every one) are not happy about ajummas and people don’t want to be (or called as) ‘ajummas’ at the same time. The title of ajumma is for middle-aged women in Korea. I already explained the origin of the word ajumma, there’s no such negative meanings are included with the word ajumma. One of the women from the conference argued that using the word ajumma is only for the maid women or women who served in the restaurants. And another woman also told me that the word ajummas should be used only for older women who are low-educated, full-time housewives with ajummarous fashion style. WHAT?????
I know calling as ‘ajummas’ are still unwelcome thing for women in Korea because of biased perspective about ajummas through various types of media (TV dramas, commercials, blogs, social media etc.) we meet everyday. But I don’t understand why calling women as ‘ajummas’ is such insulting remarks? And why those middle-aged women (who don’t want to be called as ajummas) have condescending attitude and thought about ajummas? (the maid, low-educated, etc.)
I found miso-ajumma from this experience. Why did they think ‘middle-aged women’ are better than ‘ajummas’? Whatkindof standards do they basetheirconclusionon? Like an example ofKim Yeo-sa (Mrs. Kim), some or many of ajummas are the target of hatred only because they are ajummas. (I don’t mean that ‘Kim Yeo-sa’ have no problem at all, you should read the related article about Kim Yeo-sa (pink coloured linked one just above)). It was very difficult to keep writing this post about misoajumma or misogyny. Maybe it is still complicated to understand what misogyny is in contemporary society in Korea. At the same time, it is very careful to write about this issue in Korea at this time. So it takes so long to finish this post and I will write more about this later for sure.
In the previous post, I wrote about Yeohyeom that means people (mostly men I can say) hate women without obvious reasons. Then, we can say the Korean term “Yeohyeom” can be translated to misogyny in English. Well, both terms present similar meanings (e.g.strong dislike of women) but I think they’re a bit different in some ways. Whenever I have to write my thesis about some Korean cultural things, I felt difficult to find the right word. I’m not sure how the word ‘Misogyny’ is using in English-speaking world. But the word misogyny has more complex meaning about ‘dislike of women’ I understand. However, the word Yeohyeom is now too fragmentarily understood and spoken by people (mostly men) who strongly dislike women in Korea. In social media, some of men said, “I don’t have Yeohyeom because I like women, lol (laugh)”. It doesn’t matter whether you “LIKE WOMEN” or not when we talk about Yeohyeom. It is about your thinking, attitude, perspective, respect to women as human beings like you.
Women in Korea fight against the Yeohyeom phenomenon since ‘Sora.net‘ (crime site name). We gathered signatures to reveal that crime site and further to shut the Sora.net in the end. Now women in Korea stand together against unfair ‘Yeohyeom’ and especially in various social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) through sharing information, articles, videos and photos. (I’m still understanding and researching about this issue so I will keep updating about Yeohyeom and Korean women’s against Yeohyeom especially in social media continuously)
Through this, I could think about another type of misogyny which is different from this Yeohyeom (dislike of women). It is a ‘strong dislike of Ajumma’. Regardless of men, women or other genders, (of course not every one in Korea) people in Korea have biased perspective about Ajummas and some of them hate Ajummas without an obvious reason. For the next post, I will talk about the ‘dislike of ajummas’, ‘Ajumma-Hyeom’. (Hyeom-O means ‘Strong Dislike’ in Korean)
In the previous blog post, I talked about a tragedy in Gang Nam Station, Seoul. A young college woman was stabbed to death in a crazy murderer attack. This murder thought women always ignored him so he planned to kill ‘any’ women on that day.
Yes, this is heinous crime and now we (Koreans) are at a loss what to do. There was a heated debate about the right of women in Korea for a long time but after this crazy incident, the debate about ‘living as women in Korea’ brings related hot arguments among people, especially in various social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
A Yeo-hyeom phenomenon is an example. Yeo-hyeom is a new coined Korean word and it means an attitude that someone (mostly (some sort of)men) hates women abnormally without obvious reason/ or someone hates women abnormally because women are women.
Of course, I cannot generalise ‘every men’ in Korea have Yeo-hyeom mind to women, some of men in Korea, I hope. But the one obvious thing is there is a debate about this phenomenon (Yeo-hyeom) between men and women. For me, as a women who lives in Korea, I was also furious when I read this crazy incident and I understand why there is a continuous argument about this tragedy what ‘men’ did to ‘women’. I know it should not be a dichotomous fight between ‘men’ and ‘women’. But, what do you think? This murderer killed that young women only because he hates women. Then? This means that that young women shouldn’t be killed by that psycho if she wasn’t a woman.
In other words, it could be any women. It could be me, my friends, my neighbours anyone who are women in Korea. That’s why this phenomenon brought us to think deeply about the issue of ‘Yeo-hyeom’ in Korea and we (women) now decided to fight with them (maybe men? or any one/any society who hates women without obvious reason. Women shouldn’t be received unfair only because we are women.
Why do we have to worry about going to public toilet? Why do we have to worry about being killed by anyone on the street? Why?
I don’t want to generalise that ‘all men has Yeohyeom’.But one thing is obvious that this society wants women to be ‘womanly-women’. And people (both men and women, not everyone) in Korea pointed to ‘not enough womanly-woman’. There are gender stereotypes in every culture and Korean society also have ‘stereotypes about women’. I think we (women) should deny these ‘stereotypes about women’ that decided by ‘others’. At the same time, we (women) should also deny the ‘stereotypes about women’ that were inherent in ourselves, too.
A 23-year-old female college student were murdered by a stranger man whom never met before. This crazy man stabbed to death her in a public toilet near Gang Nam Station, Seoul, Korea. He was outraged at women because he thought “women always ignore him”. With only this reason, he killed an innocent utter stranger in a public toilet. (click the link below to read a news article)
Now, “WE”, Korean women as well as (some of) men, are taking reactions about this mad incidents. Numerous post-it messages are posting at the exterior of Gang Nam Station entry. We also post photos and messages on Instagram as well.
“You lived that day because you’re a man and I survived from that day because I’m a woman”
The murder killed her because she is a woman, this means that it could be any ‘WOMAN’ on that day. Maybe we have to go to the toilet together or I won’t use any (unisex) public toilet from now on. Why do we have to worry about living this city? Why do only we (women) have to worry about it?
I mentioned before, there are so many special days in May in Korea. Yes, you can tell what I’m talking about when you read my posts in May. They are all about special days!
Today is Buddha’s Birthday so my family went to the Bongeunsa Temple near my house. My family is catholic but we go to the temple on special day like today. I saw so many ajummas to wish and pray for their family.
I will write more ajumma-related blog post next week. Enjoy Buddha’s birthday!
전에도 말했다시피, 한국의 5월은 날씨도 너무 아름답지만 특별한 날들이 참 많다. 어린이날 어버이날 부처님오신날 스승의 날 등등! 오늘은 바로 부처님 오신날! 그래서 부모님과 함께 집근처 봉은사에 갔었다. 우리집은 가톨릭 신자지만 이런 날에는 절에 가서 구경도 하고 한다. 종교가 다르다고 남의 종교가 틀린건 아니니까, 그리고 모든 종교는 다 연결되어 있다고 생각도 든다. 결국 착하게 남을 도우며 성실하게 잘 살기위해 종교를 갖는것 아니겠는가? (종교적인 부분은 매우 예민하니까 이쯤에서 그만)
오늘도 봉은사에서 많은 아줌마들을 봤다. 기도를 드리고 돌탑을 쌓아두고 등을달고 초에 불을 붙이고…이는 모두 그들의 가족들의 안녕을 위한 것이리라 생각이 든다. 우리의 모든 어머니들 즉 우리의 모든 아줌마들이 그렇게 가족을 위해 또 오늘도 살아간다.
아줌마들 모두 화이팅! 그리고 다음주에는 아줌마에 대한 포스팅을 곧 올리겠다! 즐거운 연휴 보내시길!
I tried to make Ajumma dolls before I made a Digital Ppal-let-ter video. Now, I’m thinking to do something very exciting and fun project for Ajummas. I can’t say the clear idea for this new project yet but one thing I can say for now is that this project will be enjoyable for everyone (not too serious or academic project). Through this blog, I will keep posting articles about ajummas (from academic research to miscellaneous stories) and at the same time I will upload the new project for ajummas as well.
As you can see the captured photo above, Jamie Oliver mentioned about Ajumma (he typed as ajoomma). Yes, ajummas are strong and at the same time lovely women. I’m so glad to read his comment about ajumma. They are part of our culture, I think.